Senators are inching closer to a bipartisan deal to extend unemployment insurance, with a group of Republican lawmakers and the Democratic leadership both signaling an agreement could be close.
In a sign that a deal may be at hand, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called off a late vote Monday on a year-long Democratic-backed extension.
Republicans, angry about being shut out of the amendment process by Reid, are also saying a deal could be close.
“We continue to negotiate in good faith, and we are all encouraged that we are making progress on a package that could pass with bipartisan support,” wrote Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Dan Coats of Indiana, Dean Heller of Nevada, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Rob Portman of Ohio, in a joint statement.
Despite the apparent headway, there are still disagreements between the parties. Republicans are seeking a three-month extension that would include a repeal of the military retiree cost-of-living adjustments included in the December budget deal and offset by measures “within the budget window.” Further details about how the pay-for would work were scant.
Democrats, meanwhile, proposed a year-long extension paid for by an extension of the sequester for one year, which Republicans balk at because the savings are slated to come in the future.